Daily Life

Mum arranged for me to be raped: "I fled in horror and suddenly realised what she'd done"

“Mum, did you ARRANGE for him to do that?”

Peta Butler, 27, from Queensland shares her real life story...

I pulled the pillow over my ears, trying to block out the thudding noise coming from the bedroom next door.
Not again, I thought, cringing.
My mum Therese was having sex with yet another of her online dates. I was 15 and the thought of what was happening on the other side of that wall made me sick to my stomach.
Before my parents split three years earlier, we'd been just a normal family. Mum and Dad would take my three brothers and me on family holidays and we'd sit around the dinner table and talk.
But when the relationship broke down and Dad moved out, Mum spent most of her time glaring at a computer screen, perusing dating sites and chatting to random men. She started going out on dates most nights, leaving me to care for the boys and do all the cooking and cleaning.
If I ever protested, she got aggressive.
Peta and her mother.
There'd been a constant procession of men through our home ever since.
Mum was clearly proud of it.
When my friends were round, she gloated about her love life, sharing way too many details of her latest conquest.
"Mum, stop!" I yelled, mortified.
She saw countless blokes during those few years, but there was one she was really keen on.
His name was Thommo and they'd been chatting online for ages. She was always talking about the exciting dates they were going to go on, but he always cancelled at the last minute.
I screwed up my face in disgust. What kind of man says that, and what kind of Mum talks about this stuff with her daughter? I hoped it would be a wake-up call for her and she'd move on now that she'd seen this Thommo bloke's true colours.
A few weeks later, just after my 16th birthday, Mum said she was taking me away on a girls weekend to Toowoomba. It was a surprise but I was excited. All I wanted was for her to be like other mums; someone to go shopping and have girly lunches with.
We arrived by bus late on a freezing Friday night.
As we walked to our motel, Mum bought four vodka Cruisers. She didn't drink so I saw it as an extra special treat for us to have a couple of cold ones together.
"They'll warm you up," she smiled, cracking one open and handing it to me.
By the time we got to the motel I'd drunk three and was tipsy. Mum had said she wasn't thirsty.
Our room had a lounge area, a kitchenette and a separate bedroom. Mum mixed me another drink from a bottle of bourbon someone had left.
Then the door opened.
A police sketch of "Thommo".
An obese man in his mid to late forties walked in. He was about 175cm tall, with a shaved head and was wearing an expensive suit. But it was his bulging blue eyes that really stood out.
Mum hugged and kissed him.
"This is Peta," she said to him. "Peta, this is Thommo."
He didn't say a word.
So this was the guy Mum had been so obsessed with? I honestly couldn't see why.
"Go into the bedroom," Mum said to me.
So much for a girls trip away, I thought. I hoped it would be over quickly and Thommo would go.
About five minutes later, he was at the bedroom door. I figured he wanted to use the ensuite bathroom so got up to leave.
But he grabbed my shoulders and pushed me onto the mattress.
I wanted to scream out to Mum but froze in terror as he dragged my jeans off and pulled down his pants.
He got on top of me, pinning my hands down and then raped me.
"Stop," I sobbed in agony, turning my head to the side so I didn't have to look at him.
His stubble scraped against my cheeks.
Where's Mum? Why isn't she stopping this?
I counted down the seconds, waiting for her to burst through the door.
She never did.
Thommo finished and went to the en-suite without uttering a word. I jumped up, pulled on my jeans and fled. Mum was standing outside, smoking.
She looked at me apologetically and held her arms out.
"Thommo raped me," I bawled, as she enveloped me in a hug.
"It'll be okay," Mum soothed.
I pulled away, sickened and disgusted. This was my mum, the one person who should love and protect me, no matter what. I wanted to throw up.
"I'm going home," I cried.
"No buses this time of night," Mum shrugged.
I was too scared to leave and too scared to go to the police.
Mum went back into the bedroom with Thommo. I heard them having sex as I sobbed myself to sleep on a pullout couch. Mum might as well have murdered me that night because part of me died.
Peta opening up on ACA.
At 6am the next morning Thommo, still silent, drove us to the bus station. He had a fancy white car with cream leather seats. Mum didn't say a word all the way back to Brisbane but my mind was reeling, reliving the attack and picturing Mum puffing on her cigarette outside, careless as to what was happening to me.
A few days later, I confronted her.
"You arranged for Thommo to rape me," I yelled.
"That's not what happened," she scoffed. "You're making it up."
I stood frozen in shock. Had she really just said that?
My own mother had offered my innocence to a stranger on a silver platter and then stood by and watched him take it. Every part of me wanted her to acknowledge her ultimate betrayal and pay for what she did. But it was so sick and unthinkable, I was certain no one would believe me if I told them.
What was I going to do?
Two years later, Peta went on to have a baby girl
I looked down at my newborn baby and smiled.
"Hello, little one," I whispered.
I was only 17 but had never experienced such indescribable love before. I'd created this little girl cradled in my arms and I knew instantly that I'd nurture and protect her, no matter what.
My heart was overwhelmed but then I felt a pang of pain, thinking of my own mum, Theresa, who let a stranger rape me in a lonely hotel room while she had a smoke outside.
I'd been too scared to tell a soul but since then, I'd been a broken woman, leaving school and descending into depression.
I moved out to live with friends and had as little to do with Mum as possible.
I'd heard Thommo had ended up leaving her anyway. It had all been for nothing.
When I had my daughter, it magnified the feelings of betrayal.
I simply couldn't understand how a woman could stand by and allow the rape of her 16-year-old daughter, let alone arrange it.
Soon after the birth, the father and I split.
A few years later, I had another baby.
That relationship didn't work out either, destroyed by the self-loathing the attack had left me with.
Before I knew it, I was a 21-year-old single mum, with two kids by two different men.
My home was a mess and my life was a disaster.
I desperately needed help.
My psychologist really helped me.
I saw a psychologist and eventually confided in her about what Mum had done.
Incredibly, she believed me. I never thought anyone would.
After that, I told my best friend, Sarahh.
"How could your mum do that," she wept.
With her support, I eventually mustered the courage to go to the police.
Det Snr Constable Jodi Bell believed me, too. She could see the hurt I'd kept buried for years.
"We could arrest your mum, but without evidence we can't do anything," she warned.
"What if I call her and get her to admit it?" I said.
Jodi agreed it was worth a shot.
With shaky hands, I phoned Mum and said I'd been seeing a psychologist and needed to talk about what had happened when I was 16 so I could move on.
She agreed to speak to me the next day.
With Sarahh holding my hand and the police listening in, I nervously made the call.
"I don't want anyone else to hear what we're talking about," Mum said cautiously.
My heart raced. She was already cagey. I worried she'd cotton on and hang up.
I asked her to explain why she'd done it, fully expecting her to deny it and call me a liar.
"I didn't want you to be the one," she said. "I was hoping to find somebody else who was 16 years and over."
Me and Sarahh.
Sarahh gripped my hand tightly.
I couldn't believe she was admitting it so casually.
"It was still rape," she continued. "But you were 16 – I wouldn't have let him touch you under 16, no way."
I was shaking with anxiety, but knew I had to press on.
"Why didn't you come in to that room and stop him?" I cried, overwhelmed.
"Scared," she answered.
"I was scared, too," I choked, feeling sick.
She kept turning the conversation back to the effect my rape had on her.
"He ruined my life," she said as if she was the victim. "When I take him down, he's going to pay for what he did to me."
After the longest 27 minutes of my life, I ended the call.
"We've got her!" Jodi said, beaming.
I sobbed uncontrollably as she and Sarahh hugged me.
They were unable to track down Thommo, but Mum was arrested and released on bail.
In October last year, realising there was no way off the hook, she finally pleaded guilty to procuring a young person for carnal knowledge.
At the sentence hearing, I looked her in the eye and read my victim impact statement, telling her how much her sick action had affected my life.
We took mum to court.
She suddenly erupted.
"You're f**king DEAD. I'm going to kill you, slut!" she screamed, making cutting motions across her throat.
I sat there frozen in fear, unable to believe this was my own mother.
My only comfort was that this evil woman would finally face the justice she deserved.
But there was no justice.
The judge sent her to prison for four years – with three of the years suspended.
With time served, it means she'll be freed in October this year.
I was appalled.
How could that be a fair sentence for organising your own daughter's rape?
"She got away with it," I sobbed to my dad, who'd come to support me.
At least the world knows now that she's not fit to call herself a mother.
Since the sentence I've worked on an E-fit of Thommo with the police.
They believe he might be called Peter 'Thommo' Thompson and that he had other victims.
If you think you might know him, please call the police.
If he did it once, he'll have done it to others. He might still be raping young girls, for all I know.
He should be locked up with my evil excuse of a mother – they deserve each other.

If you or anyone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or at www.lifeline.org.au

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